Posts tagged ‘Liberal Democrats’

September 19, 2010

Chart of the week: What does progressive austerity look like?

Story here.
June 7, 2010

Chart of the week: what happens when public finances are cut?

Estonia, “poster boy for Austerity”


May 5, 2010

Big oil: Nadhmi Auchi and Total (and the Liberal Democrats)

Francis Wade in the Guardian:

The outspoken chief executive of French oil giant Total takes no prisoners in his defence of the company’s controversial investment record. Speaking to the Financial Times earlier this month, he warned oil executives who may buckle when faced with the misery caused in Nigeria by Big Oil to “change their business” and get out of the game.

“Our business is a difficult one, but it is a responsibility of a big company to be able to face those challenges,” he said. Asked if there was any country in the world where the “cost to the environment or to the people” would be too great to operate in, he remained equally defiant.

This stoicism in the face of international condemnation has kept Christophe de Mergerie at the helm of one of the world’s “supermajors” – a term used to describe the six biggest oil companies that dominate global extraction and production. He shares that podium with Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxon and ConocoPhillips, all of which employ battalions of PR staff to top up the whitewash and defend daily attacks from environmental and human rights groups.

But accusations of hypocrisy have plagued Total, which employs early 100,000 people worldwide and last year earned more than $11bn in profit. The company announced in 2008 that it would not venture into Iran because the danger it posed to Total’s image was considered too high. “Today we would be taking too much political risk to invest in Iran because people will say: ‘Total will do anything for money’,” de Margerie told the FT shortly after the decision was made public.

But “do anything for money” is what it appears to be doing. [READ THE REST]

From TheJC, added hyperlinks:

A controversial Iraqi-British billionaire who funds one of the UK’s most strongly anti-Zionist websites organised a banquet in honour of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and a fundraiser for Susan Kramer, the party’s candidate in the high-profile seat of Richmond Park.

Nadhmi Auchi, 73, was convicted of fraud in the giant French Elf-Aquitaine oil company trial in 2003 and given a suspended sentence, although he is seeking to appeal the verdict.

The Lib Dems told the JC that the connection between the party and the billionaire was limited to the two events and that Mr Auchi was not a donor to the party.

Mr Clegg spoke at a dinner hosted by Mr Auchi’s Anglo-Arab Organisation, set up to promote understanding between Britain and the Arab world last November. The Lib Dems confirmed that the AAO also organised a £60-a-head dinner for Ms Kramer, which raised around £5,000.

Mr Auchi’s Middle East Online site promotes material by well-known anti-Zionists such as musician-activist Gilad Atzmon and Jeff Gates, who runs the anti-Israel “Criminal State” blog. Mr Auchi also helped fund the first of George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” convoys taking aid to Gaza.

The former Lib Dem leader Lord Steel is a longstanding director of Mr Auchi’s Luxembourg-registered company General Mediterranean Holdings. Other politicians who have worked with Mr Auchi include Lord Lamont and former minister Keith Vaz. At the weekend, the Mail on Sunday revealed that Lord Steel approached Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb to reassure him about Mr Auchi after Mr Lamb asked a series of questions about the billionaire in Parliament.

Mr Auchi is fiercely protective of his reputation and has used libel lawyers Carter-Ruck to force several newspapers and blogs to remove references to his activities. Despite Lord Steel’s approaches, Mr Lamb raised this issue in a Commons debate on libel in December 2008: “It is alleged that Mr Auchi and his lawyers, Carter Ruck, have been making strenuous efforts to close down public debate.”

More links: Modernity, Harry’s Place.

read more »

April 1, 2010

COMMENT: Rise up against ‘King Vince’! [Brendan O’Neill]

Alongside Piers Morgan’s TV career and the disappearance of Wimpy restaurants, one of the great mysteries of modern British life is the popularity of Vince Cable, economic spokesman for the Liberal Democrats. He might have the attire, demeanour and nasal whine of a geography teacher in a collapsing comp, but the media can’t get enough of him. ‘King Vince was the runaway winner of the first major televised debate of the General Election campaign’, gushes this morning’s Guardian, becoming a fully signed-up member of what one journalist has labelled ‘the cult of Cable’.